Sure Is Quiet Out There: Davidson Poised Between Semester and Summer

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Summer reading kickoff: Random links that reveal Davidson in bits and pieces.

Astronaut Tom Marshburn ’82 once described to me in an interview how it feels when the rocket engine of your space capsule suddenly stops thrusting you skyward and, with no fanfare although you know it’s coming, drops you into orbit. From massive g-forces roaring under your backside to a feeling of simultaneous motionlessness and falling forward, silent and weightless in space as time itself begins to reconfigure.

Installation of Waves III by Jaume Plensa. A lot of work goes into creating the space for thoughts between thoughts. (Click to enlarge.)

The Davidson campus feels like that the week after graduation. For long stretches of time this week across Chambers Lawn, it’s been nothing but random grown-ups and squirrels and the occasional muffled banging of physical plant crews renovating Little Hall dorm. The first day, it was so quiet I could barely think.

Then, in the “thoughts between thoughts” that Professor and Chair of Art Cort Savage so eloquently evoked at the recent dedication of the campus’s new Jaume Plensa sculpture, I began, again this year, to sense the deeper spirit of the place itself—the spirits and voices of the land and the buildings and the people who’ve come before, alive and well in all the ways that matter most, yet oh-so-quiet until you pay attention in summer lulls. Open a yearbook for a virtual stroll, and you’ll remember, too.

Kevin Hubbard ’11 (blue shirt) and parents (left) strike a pose with freshly minted alumnus Connor Hubbard ’13. (Click to enlarge.)

For now I’m still hearing hear the echoes of the voices of those we’ve most recently sent out, my student friends and now fellow alumni whose taillights we watched disappear Sunday afternoon. It strikes me that graduation is a bridge not only for these freshly-minted graduates and their families, but for those of us who stay here, a bridge we cross every year.

And the warming sun filters through the trees on a campus suddenly quiet and weightless, as time itself reconfigures into summerti-i-i-ime….


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